Jason Black of Artisan Signature Homes, Louisville’s leading luxury construction team, discusses one of the earliest steps in building a custom home in this Louisville custom homes podcast episode. Once the foundation and footers are poured and the exposed walls are up, the plumbing is the next order of business. “At this point in time, it’s important to think about where your bathrooms are going to be, if you want a bar sink, and where the drainage system is going to go,” says Black.
Plumbing stacks where waste water is collected and vented are built into the basement beneath the slab. Sometimes people don’t understand the “big deal” about “just adding another bathroom” after the fact, but it’s still a production to figure out how to move water, waste and smell through the house and out to the sewage system. The plumbing is connected inside, but has to feed down into a sewer 10-12 feet below grade.
Most of the plumbing from upstairs can be gravity-fed to the sewer without incident, but there are sometimes hang-ups – even in new neighborhoods. Particularly in lower level basements, the waste has to be pumped upstream to the sewer system. In Norton Commons, certain parts of the subdivision fall higher or lower than others, so ejector crocks are necessary to get waste out of the basement. In Beckley Crossing behind the Valhalla Golf Course, the basements almost never catch and have to be pumped.
It’s an extensive part of planning and building a custom home – to rough out the water lines through the footer, attach everything to a mechanical room with a main water shutoff, bury the lines underground and beneath the slab, attach a water meter, and working around the electrical systems. “Usually by the time we’re framing a house, we’ve been planning and constructing the home — the plumbing and electrical and other systems — for a good six months already.”
After the plumbing has been mapped out, the steel beams and columns that will hold up the next phase of framing are set before the basement floor gets poured. Then his team moves onto the more exciting parts of the building process – the framing.